The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

If You Plead Guilty to a DUI, Do You Need a Lawyer?

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: You don't have to plead guilty to a DUI. But if you know you're going to enter a plea, should you bother hiring a lawyer?

Well, how will you know whether pleading guilty is a good choice? It depends on a lot of factors such as the evidence, the charges, and your past record. And what charge should you plead to?

Any guesses on who can help you analyze that information?

If you a guessed a lawyer, you've probably been reading this blog for a while. But just in case you're not convinced, we've got three things that prove it.

  1. Your lawyer can analyze the evidence. The decision of whether to accept a plea bargain or risk a trial depends a lot on the prosecution's evidence. We all know that 0.08% is the legal limit for adults in Arizona, but how bad is it to blow a 0.10% or a 0.15%? What if the Breathalyzer wasn't calibrated in the last week? The last month? Your lawyer will know how these factors may affect your decision to plead guilty. Then you can make an informed decision about what to do next.

  2. Your lawyer is trained to negotiate. Pleading guilty isn't just about admitting to what happened. Entering a plea deal is about getting a better outcome than what you could get at trial. You can negotiate the charges and the length of your potential sentence. But are you prepared to negotiate with state prosecutors who are generally well trained? Well, your lawyer probably is since negotiation is a key part of being an attorney. Leave this one to the professionals if you want the best outcome.

  3. Your lawyer is on your side. If you don't have an attorney, then the prosecution or judge might throw you a bone and help you out by giving you some advice on how to plead. But then again, they might not help you at all. No matter how nice those people are, they are not -- and never will be -- on your side. The prosecution is against you, and the judge is neutral at best. The only person who will be able to give you professional help and be on your side is your attorney.

For some people who meet certain income requirements, the court will provide a public defender. But if you can, hire your own lawyer. Any money you spend will be worth it.

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